I know we’ve endured direct-to-video (when that was a bad thing) sequels to the original animated version of Aladdin, but with the new live-action version on the way, I wanted to propose my own sequel. Normally I’m a bit nervous about putting my billion-dollar movie ideas out there on the Internet for free, but I think this is such a rock-solid sure-fire hit, I’ve got to get it out there in hopes anyone from Disney©®™ reads it.
My sequel to Aladdin would be in the finest tradition of sequels that subvert expectations. It would mark a distinct departure from what came before, and outright recast what was understood from the previous entry. It’s time to blow apart the mythology of Aladdin and explore what makes it Aladdin by doing something that ignores what people love about Aladdin.
Let’s challenge the audience!
First Things First
At the end of Aladdin, the genie is freed from his obligations and his lamp. He is free to go, but still maintains his array of awesome powers. In case you doubt this, at the very end of the original film, the moon revolves to reveal Genie’s face as he says, “Made you look.”
It’s adorable. It’s also terrifying if you think about it.
The Genie has been unleashed from his restrictions, and possesses the power to change reality itself. He’s like Thanos without requiring the Infinity Gauntlet!
In my gritty sequel, we have to deal with the consequences of Genie becoming drunk with power. The relationship between Genie and the world has changed. Instead of him being forced to do the bidding of others, he’s in the position to force others to do his. Worse, he doesn’t need anyone to do anything since he can do it all himself.
The question becomes, of course, if there are any weaknesses we know of which could mitigate Genie. We’d need to introduce some lost process by which the Genie could be bound to the lamp again. The film becomes a race between a power-mad Genie and the humans who wish to restore sanity and order to reality.
I’d invert things so that Princess Jasmine takes the lead in the film, because we’re in the age of the female protagonist for these big-budget things. That’s not a complaint, by the way, just stating a willingness to follow trends for audiences. I don’t want my movie torched on Twitter before it gets released, after all.
The time lock would be that they discover that they cannot re-bind Genie after three phases of the full moon. Genie, of course, will have to be distracted. This proves easier than they think, as the Genie has been driven insane by the lack of restrictions on his life. There’s a part of him that would like to be imprisoned again, like Brooks in Shawshank Redemption. Maybe there’s even an angle that he’d like to end his existence, but can’t because he’s not able to do that unless he takes possession of this thing that will re-imprison him.
The movie can end with a touching scene where the Genie begs for them to obliterate him, instead of imprisoning him. We could have a very moving moment where Genie even restores Aladdin’s freedom in exchange for his own death.
I’m just spit-balling at this point, but I think the idea has legs. It could speak to the “more mature” kids I hear so much about, who are ready to vote at age 16. I’m trying to give this franchise longevity! It’ll even appeal all the way up to the Gen-Xers who are experts at cynical reductionist attitudes and existential angst.
So What Would Will Smith Say to My Proposed Gritty Sequel to Disney’s Aladdin?
But a boy can dream.